Feeding Healthy Hermie Futures

Edinburgh Community Food and Hermitage Park Primary School Parent Association are delighted to have been awarded £3,400 from Leith Chooses to deliver a 3-month inclusive food education pilot called ‘Feeding Healthy Hermie Futures’ for nursery families and P7 pupils.  We thank everyone who took the time to go along to Leith Community Centre on 23rd February to vote for us!

Leith Chooses is a participatory budget process which creates opportunities for communities to get involved in public decisions.  This year, Leith Chooses focused their pot of £44,000 on the theme of addressing inequalities, with community projects invited to bid up to £5,000 to undertake work in Leith around the themes of food or supporting vulnerable people.

The money awarded for ‘Feeding Healthy Hermie Futures’ is being used to buy cooking equipment for the School and support delivery of weekly cooking sessions with nursery families (already started) and separate sessions with P7 pupils (after the summer).  The project will be delivered by Jo Howie, a Registered Associate Nutritionist from Edinburgh Community Food, with the support of school staff and parent volunteers.  The project aims to address food inequality, introduce new foods to families, encourage healthy eating and increase confidence in cooking at home.  The group sessions will support this by teaching basic cooking skills and increasing nutritional knowledge, and will discuss ways to overcome barriers to help achieve a healthy balanced diet on a budget. 

English is not the first language for 11% of Hermitage Park school pupils and we want to help celebrate the different cultures within the school.  To do this, we will involve students and their families in suggesting Turkish, Bengali, Polish (and many more) recipes and translations to produce a multi-cultural recipe book, which we will share with the wider community.  Pupils will be encouraged to draw pictures for the recipe book and we will include photographs of the cooking sessions and interesting nutrition and shopping savvy information.  Watch for this coming out later in the year!

The recipes used in the cooking groups (and recipe book) will be healthy, easy to follow and low cost to encourage participants make the recipes again at home.  They will also be able to take home the meals cooked for their families. 

‘Feeding Healthy Hermie Futures’ cooking sessions began on Thursday 9th of May with 4 nursery parents and their children.  In their first week they cooked Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup.  It’s so lovely to hear children excited about cooking and eating healthy food. One child commented “This is so yummy!”.  All the families really enjoyed the recipe and wanted to make it again at home.

The parents and children also learned about the Eatwell Guide which shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet.  Here, the children are deciding which food cards go in which food group category.  They were very good at this!


Throughout the sessions, nursery parents will also learn how to plan their meals and what to do with leftovers to help reduce their food waste.  This in turn will help reduce their carbon footprint and save them money on their food shopping!  

Parent participants will also be given the chance to apply for free accredited REHIS qualifications delivered by Edinburgh Community Food in:

  • Food and Health (helping people to understand the links between the food we eat and our health);
  • Food Hygiene (required for working in catering/food handling jobs and increases employability opportunities);
  • Allergy Awareness (raises awareness of issues around allergies, coeliac disease & intolerances and how to cater for sufferers in a variety of contexts); and
  • Eating Well for Older People (provides participants with the knowledge and appreciation of the importance of good nutrition for older people and how to support them to eat well).

We started ‘Feeding Healthy Hermie Futures’ cooking sessions with Primary 7 pupils after the summer holidays and the children are really loving the cooking and activities.  We highlight the importance of eating for good health and making healthy food and drink choices.  They learn how to read food labels to help them make informed choices when buying food and drinks as part of their growing independence before reaching High School. 

Look out for updates on ‘Feeding Healthy Hermie Futures’ via Hermitage Park Primary School (@hermitageparkps) and Edinburgh Community Food (@EdinComFood) Twitter and web pages.